Montenegro open up Poland/Sweden 2023 account

14 Jan. 2023

Montenegro open up Poland/Sweden 2023 account

Montenegro recorded their first preliminary group win at an IHF Men’s World Championship, handing the Islamic Republic of Iran a three-goal defeat at the Tauron Arena in Krakow.

Two days ago, Iran made history with their first-ever preliminary group win too. Still, it was not to be for them on Saturday (14 January), as Iran coach Veselin Vujović could not get the better of the country of his birth.

Iran captain Mojtaba Heidarpour later admitted: “It was our first match in this event that we played very well.”

Group A

Montenegro vs Islamic Republic of Iran 34:31 (19:16)

Back in 2013, Montenegro made their senior men’s IHF World Championship debut in Spain, winning just once against Chile in the President’s Cup.

Playing for the Montenegrins back then was Zoran Roganović, now coach of Montenegro. Today (Saturday 14 January), he got one over on his opposite number, a man he says he is “apprentice to”.

“It was a real challenge for us, Mr Vujović has shown once more how good he is. I would like to thank him for everything he taught me; the most I know I learned from him,” said Roganović about his opposite number after the match before praising his team.

“My players are hungry,” he said. “We have lots of energy left to play and to win many more matches in this tournament.”

There was nothing to separate the two sides up to the fifth minute (4:4) in this encounter, but the European team finally went ahead (6:4) thanks to a double from Miloš Vujović.

Vujović, who comes from the same town in Montenegro as his namesake (Cetinje), would go on to score 10 and be named best player of the match. And when he extended that lead to four (9:5) for Montenegro in the 10th minute, coach Vujović took his first time out.

After a best player performance against Chile in their opening day victory, Mohammad Siavoshishahenayati in the Iran goal could only manage one save in the first 15 minutes as an aggressive, open defence from his side left holes for Vujović – who has scored 40 goals for Füchse Berlin in the European League this season – and his team to exploit.

Iran brought in Ali Rahimi Kazerooni to replace Siavoshishahenayati in goal and eventually, the Asian side clawed back their deficit to just one (11:12, 18th minute).

But Montenegro went ahead again as Vujović made it seven from seven attempts – from the seven-metre wing and the devastating Montenegro fast-break.

His side were three ahead at the break (19:16), but Iran had other ideas in the opening five minutes of the second period, bringing it level (20:20, 35th minute).

But Montenegro swiftly opened up another three-goal lead and with 15 minutes remaining it was four (27:23) and Iran could not come back this time.

“I am really happy that we won tonight. We expected a hard match; we know exactly that Vujović wanted to win tonight,” said Milos Vujović. 

“We won for the first time in the history of Montenegro. Everyone is happy about that. But we will not stop. We know what our plans are, what we want to do.”

“I am proud of my players. We tried to catch Montenegro, but it was too much,” said the Iran coach. “This is a big school for us; there is much emotion in me, believe me.”

Up next for Montenegro are Chile, while Iran face the 2021 IHF Men’s World Championship bronze medallists Spain. Both matches will be played on Monday (16 January).

hummel Player of the Match: Miloš Vujović (Montenegro)